Archives For May 2013

Backstage nobody should hear you scream.

Mirror off the wall

May 15, 2013

When we did a corporate event in Mauritius, the set was delayed. It was stuck in customs in Paris. Don’t ask. That in itself is a long story. Suffice to say we found ourselves stuck in Mauritius, in a really nice conference venue, with the local suppliers ready to set up lights, sound and projection and a client really keen to rehearse.

A chat with the local crew turned into a full scale effort to at least get a screen up. Friendly scaffolders were drafted in and before long we had a very creative structure holding up a back projection screen. The next challenge was to work out how to flip the projector output so it would look right on the screen. Projecting from behind the screen is not something they were used to doing here as it turned out. Projecting from the front was not an option. A quick phone call to an old friend, Stevie Warne, to figure out a solution was in order. Stevie is one of two people I have come across over the years who are proper technical geniuses. Stevie inspired me to find out more about modems and connecting to other computers over a telephone line. He effectively got me online in about 1989. Just around the time Tim Berners-Lee invented the web… Anyway, all that is a whole other story.

As it happened, Stevie was driving home from a job in Leicester, so we could chat. I described the projectors to him and we came to the conclusion quite quickly that neither of the two projectors on offer had the option to properly rear project.

While we were chatting through our options, Stevie mentioned the possibility of using a mirror. “Of course, a mirror, that could do it” I said. I noticed that the local crew, who had been standing around listening to the conversation, had suddenly gone. I thanked Stevie for his help and went off to find where the crew had gone. I found them in the toilet unscrewing a mirror from the wall.

Once the mirror was screwed to a table and rigged up with the projector, we had a perfectly mirrored projected image on our screen. Rehearsal could commence.

This show turned into one of the best experiences I have ever had working abroad and it convinced me for ever that working with local crew and suppliers can be one of the most enriching experiences in our work.

The set turned up in the end. Just in time for the show.